This is a petition under article 226 of the Constitution.
It appears that, for recovery of income-tax dues against the husband of petitioner, two houses Nos. 77 and 77A, Bank Street, Meerut, are sought to be proceeded against. The petitioner has claimed the houses to belong to her under an oral gift in her favor by the husband. In order to make good this claim in the recovery proceedings the petitioner field objections before the Collector. The objections purported to be under Order XXI, rule 58, Civil Procedure Code. By order dated April 10, 1961, the objections were dismissed summarily by the Additional Collector, Merit, with the o] following observation :
'The procedure prescribed for recovery of arrears of land revenue or these taxes or rates......... does not contemplate any enquiry by the Collector on the lines laid down under Order XXI, rule 58, Civil Procedure Code. I hold that the objection of the applicant is misconceived and cannot stand as such.'
The Collector was clearly in error in taking this view. There is authority for the proposition that in proceedings under section 46(2) of the Income-tax Act, where the Collector has recourse to file objections to attachment and sale of his property and the Collector is bound to decide those objections : vide decision reported in Haradevi Bai v. Collector of Kurnool and Dhanalakshmi Ammal v. Income-tax Officer, Madras.
Apart from authority, on principle also, it is plainly necessary on the principles of natural justice that, before the property of a person can be sold, he should be given an sport unity to make good his claim to the property and to show if he possibly can show that that property is not liable to be proceeded against for realization of dues against another person. It follows that the order of the Collector dated April 10, 1961, is plainly erroneous in law. The Collector has failed to exercise the jurisdiction which vested in him to entertain and decide the objection filed by the petitioner before him.
The writ petition is therefore allowed. The order of the Collector dated April 10, 1960, is quashed. The Collector is directed to decide the objection of the petitioner before the Collector. The Collector shall decide both the objections. No other point was pressed before me. The petitioner shall be entitled to the costs of this petition.